Pipil - History and Cultural Relations



During a series of migrations that started in the eighth century and ended in the fourteenth century, the Pipil established a strong presence in El Salvador and Honduras. In the eleventh century the Pipil swept into El Salvador, displaced the Poqomam Indians and established the capital of their kingdom, Cuzcatlán.

Originally, the Pipil successfully resisted attempts at conquest by the Spanish. The Pipil were able to defeat forces led by Pedro de Alvarado in the Battle of Acajutla in June of 1524; however, de Alvarado returned in 1525 and this time succeeded in defeating them.

The history of the Pipil in El Salvador is much different from the history of Indians living in the mountains of Guatemala. Whereas many Maya were able to live in relative isolation through much of the colonial period, the terrain of El Salvador offered little protection. As a result, the Pipil were assimilated into the colonial economy of El Salvador much more than the Maya.

Although the Salvadoran government was sympathetic to Indian affairs in many ways, the Pipil eventually lost their communal lands in 1881, when the government abolished titles on all communal lands. In the wake of this event, many private landholders swept in to usurp lands that had traditionally been worked by Pipil. In the century since land privatization, most Pipil have become landless peasants and wage laborers.


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User Contributions:

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john hernandez
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Jul 23, 2012 @ 2:14 pm
if anyone knows more about this great tribe and culture please tell me I want to teach my children where they come from. My family came from a long of Pipil indians. The only problem is my mother was never taught all the history and my grandma and grandpa have aged and hardly remember. Please any info contact me thank you God bless you

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